Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give. Whether those gifts come in the form of monetary contributions, volunteering time, or simply sharing a smile, the importance of being involved and lifting our communities up cannot be understated. As business owners, getting your team involved can be a way to contribute to another’s quality of life while also improving team morale and cohesiveness.

Volunteering and Employees

The impact corporate volunteerism has, not only on the greater community, but on employees is extremely valuable, especially when it comes to the HVACR industry.

Employers all across the HVACR industry (and the skilled labor industry in general) are struggling to recruit new employees due to society’s focus on four-year colleges and higher education.

Even after establishing your teams, it is important to keep morale in mind and keep team members as cohesive as possible. It is important to create an enjoyable work environment that ensures that your team recognizes that they are all working towards a common goal.

Management theories show that things like recognition, responsibility, advancement, and a sense of achievement are what cause employees to work harder and feel a sense of dedication to the company. All of these motivation factors can be achieved through corporate volunteerism, provided that management recognizes when employees do good work when volunteering.

Employees that frequently participate in company volunteer efforts are twice as likely to rate their company culture as very positive, as compared to those who rarely or never volunteer. They are also more likely to be proud to work for their company and to feel loyal to their company when compared to non-volunteering employees.

One example of a way to give praise and recognition to your employees would be to put the pictures you take during volunteer events on the breakroom fridge or feature them in monthly newsletters. Doing this creates an almost family-like atmosphere that can serve as a reminder to your employees of the good work they’ve done and your appreciation for them.

Overall, employees who volunteer often are more satisfied with their employers and more likely to recommend their company to a friend. This brings us to the next point.

Volunteering Helps Recruiting

As discussed above, recruiting new employees in the HVACR industry has become more difficult over time. A survey by Deloitte in 2011 found that even among Millennials that rarely or never volunteer, 61% said that a company’s commitment to community involvement would factor into their choice of employment. Incorporating volunteerism into your company’s culture could significantly impact your company’s ability to hire young, high-quality, and skilled employees.

How to Choose a Charity

Ask your employees for input. Some employees may already be involved with certain charities while other employees may not have had previous involvement in charitable work — but they might have interest in volunteering with certain types of charities.

Selecting volunteer opportunities that your employees want to get involved with will increase the likelihood that they will sign up. Allowing them to have a say in the selection process also gives them a sense of agency in the workplace, which is important for a healthy company culture and employee motivation.

Explore charities that fit your company’s means. Make sure to select charities that have ample need for volunteers, so that volunteering doesn’t become a selective process where only a small number of employees can join in. Also, make sure that you select a charity where your company will have an obvious impact on the local community. A good example of this would be your local food bank.

One of the most effective ways to give back is to identify ways in which your company can serve in a way that only HVAC companies can. Try to find opportunities to do charity work that relates to your industry. For instance, your HVACR company could inquire about working with Habitat for Humanity, assisting a family that may have lost their home, helping out high school CTE programs, or donating units and services to a local veterans program. Being that our skill is in high demand and requires a high amount of training to be done successfully and safely, it is always a good idea to look into providing trade-specific assistance to those that may not otherwise have access to quality HVAC servicing.

In the same vein, look for charities that align with the values of your target demographic. For instance, homeowners in the age range of 25 to 45 (otherwise known as Millennials) are more likely to support humanitarian rights, childhood development, and victims of abuse. Meanwhile, if you’re trying to appeal to homeowners between ages 46 and 55 (Gen X), consider volunteering with charities involved with health services, animal welfare, and environmental protection.

Try finding small charities that your local community holds in high esteem, such as the Animal Defense League of Texas in San Antonio or Friendship Place in Washington, D.C. Supporting small charities such as this can have a big, noticeable impact on the local community that you might not otherwise get with larger, nationwide charities.

Improving Public Image

Though never the main goal in corporate volunteerism, it is also worth a note that an inherent result of corporate charity is a good company reputation. Half of all consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from socially responsible companies. For many consumers, it feels like the money they are giving you funnels right back into services that they benefit from or otherwise support. The bottom line is that consumers feel good about giving money to companies that give back.

Getting involved in your community also provides the opportunity to generate positive attention for your company. Local news outlets often choose to highlight charity efforts happening in their communities. Getting involved and doing good for members of your community has the potential to have your efforts shared with the public. In that way, both your business and the charity you have chosen to help get the opportunity to be talked about.

True Benefits

Ultimately, the best reason why you should volunteer is this: it’s the right thing to do. As business owners, we have the ability to give back to our local communities in ways that we never could as individuals. No matter what form of charity you (or your employees) choose to engage in, you have encouraged a group of people to come together, form closer bonds, and create real change that may not have happened otherwise.